October 17th is celebrated by only a few. It is remembered, however, as the day in 1943 of the opening ceremonies of the Thai-Burma Death Railway. Engine C5631, built by Nippon Sharyo in 1938 at its Narumi plant, was the locomotive used at the opening. It was hauling a cargo of Comfort Women.
|From the funeral|
Nippon Sharyo factory still maintains the factory at Narumi where Levenberg toiled and was beaten. The Company is now owned by the rail corporation JR Central. The company is promoted by the Japanese government as wanting to build high-speed rail in the US with proposed projects between Dallas and Houston, and Baltimore and DC. The firm, however, has never apologized to nor acknowledged its American POW slaves.
Major Levenberg remained in the US Air Force after the war and saw combat in the Korean War. He held numerous world-wide assignments as a security professional in the Strategic Air Command and then as a U.S. civil service member of Naval Air System Command.
In retirement, Levenberg donated his time and energy to support other former POWs at the VA Hospital in Reno, Nevada. He also served on the VA's National Advisory Commission of Former Prisoners of War and as National Commander of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (ADBC) from 1979 to 1980.
In 1994, he joined, on behalf of ADBC, the group of ex-POWs of the Japanese from other former Allied countries in an appeal to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights regarding these countries' failure in addressing the injustice suffered by POWs of the Japanese during WWII. The appeal was based on the denial of a previous appeal with respect to the "gross violations of human rights" committed by Japan against American POWs during WWII. (Excerpts from the appeal document for UNCHR prepared by Mr. Levenberg) Although their appeal was again denied, it led to the payment by Canada, the United Kingdom, Isle of Man, Norway, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Australia to their former POWs of the Japanese. The United States is the only country that has not done so.
His oral history was recorded by the Library of Congress and the University of Nevada (“Nothing Had Prepared Me For This Kind of Brutality” p 570). In 1996, Dick Cavett interviewed Levenberg for his HBO series Yesteryear...1942 -- a look at the first year of America's involvement in WWII.